Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Great Blue Heron

 Great Blue Heron
Bosque del Apache NM

8"x 6" oil on canvas panel  $150. SOLD

Artist Note

I joined other artists at
New Mexico's amazing
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
where we
hoped to catch the fall colors
and see the cranes.

We left in the dark
for the two hour drive
and was rewarded with
Wow -
a gorgeous sunrise

This beautiful refuge has a long loop road with
bird watching sites and boardwalks at regular intervals.
Our cameras were busy clicking away
and I wrote down color notes.

Lots and lots of Snow Geese

The Blue Herons
are usually on their own so we
were looking for them along the ditches.
which led to us finding
this extra stunning ditch
with the green weeds.
 I cannot wait to paint it.

There is a photo/video link below
of a  Blue Heron
eating a HUGE fish at the
Bosque del Apache.
And I mean HUGE

I found it pretty fascinating
(seeing is believing}
but only because of the
stubborn nature of the Heron
...who obviously was
determined he wouldn't have to relay
the traditional fishing story
to his mate, when he got back to the nest.
You know the one...
" the one that got away!"
Heron eating fish


  1. What a gorgeous area! And a lovely painting. The herons are fun to watch aren't they? It pays to be patient though because they seem to stand still or stalk things slowly. Makes the viewer slow down:)

    1. Their slowness is why you can actually sketch them, Libby, and I like that. They build their nests in trees and often in a rookery type environment...but during the day they are loners.
      Your new landscape inspired pieces are wonderful, Libby. I love the way you use your colors.

  2. Wow Julie, Mike and I watched that Heron suck down that fish. And to think I choked on a little pill the other day. Makes my throat hurt just watching it, LOL, just kidding. Love your painting. You really got the look of autumn in the marsh. Have a beautiful day!

    1. LOL...It made my thought close up, Carol. And in the Heron one around to deliver a Heimlich maneuver! Nature is amazing.
      Happy you like the painting, thanks.
      I enjoyed seeing your new haircut but really enjoyed the feeling I had of sitting chatting with you.

  3. Replies
    1. Than you Gary, but "stunning" is reserved to your amazing portrait of Shana.

  4. Gorgeous painting. I am astonished by the photos of the heron eating that fish! I don't imagine he was hungry again, for a very long time.

  5. Hi Carol, Thanks, the setting was lovely. Astonished...yes... and I will remember the determination of that Heron for a long time.
    Love the pic of the squirrel and sunflower together. Perfect!

  6. What a feast of nature's doings! Magical to watch that heron not give up in his feasting of a huge catfish. What inspiration to see the ways of nature first hand.

    1. At least you knew it was a catfish. I didn't so I am happy to find out. I wonder how the Heron's digestive system handles something that size?
      Then I think of the eating contests where someone can eat a disgusting amount of hot dogs... and lives to brag about it. I guess some do better than others.
      Thanks for the visit, Carol.

  7. Such beautiful pictures and your painting of the blue heron is just WOW! Amazing work! Thanks for the nice visit.

    1. We both painted water birds! Yours has a beautiful design and color palette. Loved it!
      Thanks for the neat comment, Helen.

  8. Well Julie, timing is everything, not to mention subject matter. We've spent the last two days trying to watch our Koi pond from a stalking Heron who won't give up. He is beautiful but many of our Koi are more than 10 years old and we love them also!

    1. Oh, Blanche - how awful for you. I don't care how beautiful the Heron is if he eats pet Koi.
      I read Hilda's comment below and I know what you say is true. Chicken wire on posts to tent an area could help. Fingers. Tossed.

  9. what a beautiful painting Julie!!!!! I love the way the light is hitting the heron as well as the water.. And an amazing sunrise!!! I think the herons are so beautiful but my husband has a problem with them since they took two of our beautiful koi's and left the rest traumatized that we didn't see them for awhile.... Lol

    1. Thanks for such a complementary comment, dear Hilda. Blanche, above, is being bothered by a heron stalking her Koi. I never thought they would be around neighborhood environments. I guess they are big and don't scare easily. Here we don't attract them as too dry and that's why a visit to the Bosque is such a treat. Enjoy your week, my friend.

  10. I think this is my all-time favourite, quite amazing. To try to analyze it would be an injustice to the parts I didn't mention. Really love it!!

  11. Words of praise indeed. Thank you, dear John.
    Did you watch the video link of him eating the catfish?
    How is Australia? They must have Herons there. Are you inland or coastal? If coastal, are you getting any boating in?
    Curious mind wants to know. Thanks again.

  12. Dear Julie - first your painting is breathtaking. What a beautiful capture of such an amazing bird. Your pictures of this lovely place are awesome (especially the sunrise). Enjoyed too the video of the Heron eating that huge fish. Wow - just a great way to start my Monday. Take care friend and have a super week. Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Debbie, such a lovely complement.
      It was such a beautiful day. Happy you enjoyed the video. Wasn't that amazing? Nature is always fascinating.
      I loved seeing the photo of two handsome dogs on your post and the watercolor you painted. Such a joyful and uplifting post.

  13. I am at awe at your incredible talent, this painting is a true eye opener ! And 'mamma mia ' what a beautiful sunset ! Sometimes I wonder if I chose the wrong place to live.

    1. I was grinning reading "mamma mia" - I could hear your voice!
      Our sunsets are extra brilliant due to dry air. Not everyone like the desert but I LOVE it.
      I love your portrait, "A Certain Smile"

  14. What a gorgeous location!! You have such wonderful textures and reflections in the painting. I especially like the way you have the light hitting the heron's back and then glints of light on the water. This is truly beautiful.

    I had to laugh at the video link. I think that carp was as big as the heron. It must have such powerful muscles to lift that fish out of the water and swallow it. I know gravity helped a bit at the end, but that was really impressive.

    1. You would absolutely love the Bosque, Joaan, and I can envision you sketching the birders with their binoculars as well as birds.
      That is one neat story attached to your Christmas tree painting. I am going to be passing that one on.
      I wish they had seen the painting.

    2. You are right about me sketching the birders too. lol

  15. you captured that determined heron fishing look perfectly in your painting :)

    the sunset colours are amazing!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. Yes - New Mexico sunrises can be mistaken for sunsets when they are bright like that one was.
      Red sky in the morning...sailors warning... the weather changed the very next day!
      The owl you are drawing is pretty darned amazing.

    2. lol oops misread that didnt i
      but def looks like the sunsets around here

  16. Gorgeous painting, Julie. And what a beautiful sunrise. Thank you for that!
    The heron video - ouch!

    1. Hi Chris - thanks. Ouch indeed...I totally agree.
      Your Brown-Eyed Girl portrait is simply perfect!

  17. You took me along to this gorgeous place! The sunset is amazing! A beautiful painting!

    1. Hello, my friend, how are you doing? Thanks for sending such a encouraging comment.
      I have been waiting to see more of your wonderful figures so I do hope you will be posting soon. Here comes a hug!

  18. Your painting captures the delicate beauty of the heron, what a gorgeous spot! The sunrise is stunning, thanks for sharing this beautiful place. I did not know the Heron could swallow a whole fish, pretty amazing!

  19. Loved catching up with your blog and beautiful work Julie. Gorgeous pieces all around!! Hope most of your studio move is behind you. So much work!
    Hope you have some time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday! Best to you!!


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